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Q: What are some ways to include beans in my diet?

Posted October 01, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

A: Beans would be a wonderful healthy addition in your diet. Studies show that people who regularly consume beans have lower cholesterol levels and body weights. And, when consumed at least four times a week, beans result in a 22 percent lower risk for coronary heart disease. It can be tricky to determine where beans fit on the plate. For a half-cup serving, they actually count as both a protein and a vegetable serving, and they provide 7 grams of appetite-reducing nutrients, protein and fiber.

In addition to being great for your health, beans are easy on the budget. A serving of canned beans costs around 36 cents and a serving of dried beans around 12 cents. For canned beans, look for no-salt-added varieties. Here’s some ideas to incorporate beans into your eating plan:
• When making tacos, use half ground beef and half black beans. You won’t even notice once it goes in the shell.
• Need a quick snack? Put rinsed and drained beans in a tortilla with salsa and cheese to make a quick quesadilla.
• Add beans to salads. Garbanzo beans are wonderful on a dark, leafy green salad.
• Puree beans with a little oil and seasonings to make a vegetable dip.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Information provided by Amy Clark, RD, LD, Hy-Vee, 640 Lincoln Way, 232-1961.

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